Arts & Letters Prizes

21st Annual Arts & Letters Prize Judges Announced

2019 Prize Judges

Poetry: Gennarose Nethercott

Gennarose Nethercott is the author of The Lumberjack’s Dove (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2018), selected by Louise Glück as a winner of the National Poetry Series. Her other projects include A Ghost of Water (an ekphrastic collaboration with printmaker Susan Osgood) and the narrative song collection Modern Ballads. Her work has appeared in BOMB Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, The Offing, PANK, and elsewhere, and she has been a writer-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Art Farm Nebraska, and the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris. She is currently a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow. Nethercott tours nationally and internationally composing poems-to-order for strangers on a 1952 Hermes Rocket typewriter– and is the founder of the Traveling Poetry Emporium, a team of poets-for-hire. She holds a degree in poetry, theatre, and folklore from Hampshire College. A born Vermonter, she has lived in many cities across the US and Europe, but is always drawn back to the forest.

Creative Nonfiction: Pam Houston

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards. She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Fiction: Peter Nichols

Peter Nichols is the author of the bestselling novel The Rocks, and the international bestsellers A Voyage for Madmen (finalist for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year), Evolution’s Captain, and three other books of fiction, memoir, and non-fiction. His novel Lodestar was nominated for the Dublin IMPAC literary award. He has taught creative writing at a number of universities, including Georgetown University, Bowdoin College, New York University in Paris, and Antioch University Los Angeles. Before turning to writing full time, he held a 100 ton USCG Ocean Operator’s license and was a professional yacht delivery skipper for 10 years. He has also worked in advertising in London, as a screenwriter in Los Angeles, been a shepherd in Wales, and sailed alone in a small boat across the Atlantic.

Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Fiction Winners will appear in next year’s Fall or Spring issue of Arts & Letters.

Drama: Iona Sun

Iona Sun is the co-founder and Literary Manager of Birdhouse Theater in Milledgeville, Georgia. She has been directing for nearly fifteen years and has a passion for new works. In addition to serving as the judge and director of the Arts & Letters prizewinning play for seven years, she also judges screenplays for the ME Film Festival as well as the International Playwriting Festival EdgeFest. Her own plays, in addition to several productions in Georgia, have been produced in L.A. (Acting Out INK Fest 2016, 2018), Edmonds Driftwood Festival of Shorts in Washington State, and Washington Women in Theatre Festival in D.C., and have been recognized by the Neil LaBute Theatre Festival in St. Louis.
The Drama Prize winner will attend the production of the prize-winning one-act play at the Georgia College campus (usually in March).

About the Prizes
For our prizes in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, we offer the winner a $1,000 prize and publication in the next year’s Fall or Spring issue. The prize-winning one-act play winner receives a $500 prize and travel support to attend the prize play production at the Georgia College campus (usually in March.) Our prizes are made possible through generous gifts to our prize endowments from Dr. Martin Lammon, Dr. Barry Darugar, Bahram and Fari Atefat, and other friends of Arts & Letters. If you are interested in contributing to our endowments, please contact us!

All submitters receive a digital subscription of Arts & Letters, which will include the issue prize winners are published in.

Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction:

Submit a manuscript of up to 25 pages, typed, double-spaced

Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction:

Submit a manuscript of up to 25 pages, typed, double-spaced

Rumi Prize for Poetry:

Submit a manuscript of up to 4 poems, typed, single-spaced (poems need not be thematically linked, though it is fine if they are)


Submit a one-act play of 30-60 pages, typed in standard modern stage play format. The full production will be produced in the spring of the following year at Milledgeville’s Birdhouse Theatre. Scripts with minimal set/design requirements are preferred, so that we can focus on the story and acting in performance.

Previously produced scripts are acceptable.

Please do NOT include your name on any part of the uploaded file you submit to any genre.  We accept most file formats (Word, .rtf, PDF).

We prefer, for the prizes, that your work not be simultaneously submitted. This helps us preserve the integrity of the contest(s). Our judges’ decisions are usually made by the end of May.

All fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction prize submissions will be considered for publication at regular payment rates.

All writers and poets writing in English are eligible to enter, excepting friends, relatives, or current and former students of the current-year judges.

The submission period for our annual prizes is February 1 – March 31. The entry fee is $20 ($10 for the one-act drama prize).

All submissions are through our Submittable site:




20th Annual Arts & Letters Prize Winners

Rumi Prize for Poetry
Judge: Alfred Corn
WINNER: Keith S. Wilson, for “letter begun to my future niece” and “Long Tail”
Jennifer Elmore
Justin Hunt
Mariana Lin
Brandon Rushton

Fiction Prize
Judge: Melissa Pritchard
WINNER: R. M. Kinder, for “A Common Person”
Antonia Angress

Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction
Judge: Joni Tevis
WINNER: Megan Harlan, for “Mobile Home”
Bettye Kearse
Jill Logan
Keith S. Wilson

Drama Prize
Judge: Iona Sun
WINNER: Jenny King, “Reconciling”
Angela Davis
Robert Daseler
James Wade
Marshall Botvinick
Neil McGowan


Images from the 2017 Drama Prize Winner “The Lantern Bearers” by Marc Aronoff

Lantern 1.5Lantern 3.1Lantern 4.5

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